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Old 10-13-2010, 12:57 AM   #1
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Rexhall or National?

Thank you all for your contributions to helping us decide which MH to buy. This months candidates are a 1999 Rexhall Aerbus- gas, 32', 53K mi and $29,800. Well maintained everything works.
The second one is a 1998 National Tradewinds diesel. 36.5 ', 71,000 mi and $32,000. Going to see this one this weekend. Thoughts comments experience with either of these coaches?
Cary
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Old 10-13-2010, 01:00 AM   #2
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I have owned both Rexhall and National products and I can say that for us both were excellent coaches. We purchased a new Aerbus in 1998 and might possibly still own it today except we purchased one with no slides. I think that in that vintage Rexhall built some of their best motorhomes. That being said I would still have to choose the diesel over the gas coach. The gas coach at 53K is most probably on the last half of it's life. The diesel coach at 71K is just getting broke in well. If it has been serviced regularly it will be the better deal. Think about air brakes rather than hydraulic just before we traded off our aerbus in 04 we had to replace the roters and pads with less than 40K on the coach.
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Old 10-13-2010, 10:46 AM   #3
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We looked at both a Rexhall and our Tradewinds before we bought the Tradewinds. The diesel and air brakes are some of the reasons we went with the National. As stated, both brands were good especially a few years ago. At 71K you probably will never wear out the Cat. Ours had 73K on it when we bought it and outside of regular maintenance has been trouble free mechanically. We have put 10K on it since last December.
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:39 AM   #4
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If the coaches you're considering are on the Ford chassis, you will find the 99 models have the new wider track chassis than the 98 along with the 19.5" wheels instead of the 16.5" wheels on the 98 chassis.

The wider track chassis translates to better handling.

good luck with your choice...
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:55 AM   #5
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We have a 1999 Tradewinds and there is really no comparison in ride and outfitting. The Tradewinds is a well made unit both inside and out. You will probably find the appliances like the fridge and A/C units are a upgrade compared to the gasser. Mileage is slightly better with the Cat Engine but the fuel cost is higher, so a push. Having the engine in the back is a real advantage; you can hold a normal conversation while driving a pusher. The Cat manual specs a complete overhaul of the engine at 600,000 miles so that's another plus for the pusher. The Air ride is noticeable on the Freightliner Chassis, we find it very comfortable. Compare the Bay Doors and see which looks better made. Oftimes this is one of the first places corners are cut. Also get the lowdown on the Charger/ Inverter, is it three stage and how many watts. In a "A" class 2000 Watts is a pretty good number. Check the tires date code, anything over six years will need replaced, a big cost, 2 to 3 thousand dollars depending on how hard over you are on the Michelin brand. Check the output rating of the generator, somewhere around 6.5KW is a good number if the coach has two A/C units. Also look for a transfer switch, this unit switches the A/C automatically when the Genny is turned on.

Notice what electrical service the coach is wired for. 50 AMP has some advantages over 30 Amp. Even though you will no doubt stay in many parks that only provide 30 Amp service it matters. 30 AMP is just that 30 AMP and no matter what you will never be able to run both A/C's at the same time even on the Genny. 50 AMP is two Phases of 50 Amp each so it's really 100 Amp. With that service you can run all your appliances at the same time, just less management in general. If the coach is 50 Amp look for a “Dog bone” 30 Amp converter, not a big deal but one more cost if it isn’t there.

If possible go inside both coaches in cold weather and check the wall temps. If you are out in the early spring or late fall you will appreciate good insulation. Drive the unit and listen for air whistling around doors and windows. This can get really annoying after the blush of new ownership wear off a bit. Remember your looking at coaches that are over ten years old. Expect to have stuff to do. If you can identify what needs done and can do it yourself then your way ahead money wise.

Everything being said. If you’re at all like we were while in the buying process you will just know when you find the right one for you. It was like buying a house. We found with most of the units we looked at we were looking for reasons to buy. With the Tradewinds we found ourselves looking for reasons not to buy. In the end the right one will grab you. It's not a required purchase, so look until you fall in love and enjoy the ride before and after you buy.

There are a few of us that got together this year at the "First Annual National RV Orphans Rally" and had a great time. Be careful of these folks.... we’re hardcore National Owners and may not be able to give you an objective opinion.
Dick
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:12 AM   #6
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I just finished winterizing and thought of another thing you should look for. A Water Heater Bypass Valve is almost required. If the coach you buy has one it's a big plus.

Dick
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:50 AM   #7
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Dick,

Thanks for the awesome reply. I think you are right we will "know it" when we see it.
Do you kow of any good ways to check for water damage from the roof. Apparently it can be pretty hard to detect. Thanks again
Cary
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Old 10-14-2010, 02:46 PM   #8
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Cary

I didn't know I had a leak until it rained. Really bad leaks will discolor the cieling and should make you cautious. If you see thin dark strips in the cieling going side to side they are probably not water leaks. Something about the way there made causes these lines to appear but it's not water. There are ways to clean them up, but that's for another thread.
Be prepared to fix at least one leak in a coach over 10 years old. Buy Eternabond Tape and cover the seams on the front and back cap if they leak or not. Then check around any openibg in the roof for cracks in the caulking. Vegas Dan did a really nice job on his coach in this thread.
Started renovation on Tradewinds

This thread is well worth the read. Dan did a great job of making his Tradewinds just like he and Lynda wanted it. Now there full timing and loving it. But there was a bit of work up front.

I treat it like a hobby. I just love doing mods and fixes. Check this album of some of the things DW and I have done.
RV Mods - Windows Live

When you find things to do don't figure you've been ripped off, all coachs even the new ones have issues. You won't get a factory warantee but then you aren't spending factury prices.

It's the journey not the destination.

I would have the big pieces checked by a pro before I bought. It's well worth the cost. Engine or Chassis problems can cost you an arm and a leg.

Good luck with what ever you buy. We sure enjoy ours and have met the nicest people since we started this adventure.

Where are you located?

If your ever in Albuqubuerque I'd love to see whatever you buy.

Dick
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:43 PM   #9
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My buddy's 2000 Rexhall 32' does not have an inverter nor leveling jacks. I do not know if that is the norm, but would be deal breakers for me.

Otherwise it has been very reliable for all 12,000 miles.
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